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United States Patent Application 20160305749
Kind Code A9
Mason; Gregory T. October 20, 2016

Portable, wireless target systems

Abstract

The invention relates to a shooting target and method of using the target for electronically determining the shooting position on a shooting target. Said shooting position is determined in a number of ways, including by use of a plurality of accelerometers to determine the impact area and transmit data relating to the impact to a remote receiver for real-time presentation to the shooter. Said method enables the shooting position to be determined by means of relatively economical electronic systems and said shooting target is portable such that the shooter may bring the target to a plurality of firing ranges and locations to convey the same real-time reporting and benefits to the shooter. Said shooting target may be set-up on a standard target stand to wirelessly relay shot impact information to a portable personal computing device to present real-time virtual impact data to the shooter. This data can then be stored and categorized given user-selected inputs and shared with other shooters in an online forum.


Inventors: Mason; Gregory T.; (San Francisco, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

MASON TARGET SYSTEMS, LLC

San Francisco

CA

US
Prior Publication:
  Document IdentifierPublication Date
US 20150123346 A1May 7, 2015
Family ID: 1000002178688
Appl. No.: 14/522344
Filed: October 23, 2014


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
14154131Jan 13, 2014
14522344
61825981May 21, 2013
61831594Aug 28, 2013

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: F41J 5/04 20130101
International Class: F41J 5/04 20060101 F41J005/04

Claims



1. A portable, wireless target system, comprising at least one target, at least one transceiver, and a plurality of sensors; wherein the at least one target is connected to the at least one stand and at least a portion of said target is one or more of removable, collapsible, storable and portable; wherein the plurality of sensors are capable of interfacing with said transceiver; wherein said at least one transceiver is proximate said target; wherein said at least one transceiver is capable of wireless communication; and wherein said first surface of said target is capable of displaying an image.

2. The target system of claim 1, further comprising a projector, wherein said projector is used to project an image on said first surface of said target.

3. The target system of claim 1, further comprising an electric motor with a wireless receiver connected with at least one stand, wherein the at least one stand is capable of wireless adjustment on the X, Y and Z axis, or a combination thereof by use of said electric motor.

4. The target system of claim 1, wherein said first surface of said target is transparent.

5. The target system of claim 4, wherein the first surface is capable of displaying a digital video.

6. The target system of claim 1, wherein at least one sensor is an accelerometer and at least a portion of said target plate is made of steel, further comprising a rubber fragmentation ring.

7. The target system of claim 1, wherein the one or more targets comprise one or more target plates made of paper, cardboard, plastic, rubber, or steel, wherein said target plates fit onto said stand.

8. The target system of claim 1, wherein the one or more sensors comprise at least four accelerometers and the target system is capable of being powered by battery.

9. The target system of claim 1, wherein the one or more sensors comprise photodiodes.

10. The target system of claim 1, wherein at least one transceiver is capable of wireless communication with a mobile device.

11. A portable, wireless target system, comprising at least one target, at least one transceiver, and a plurality of sensors; wherein the at least one target is connected to the at least one stand and at least a portion of said target is one or more of removable, collapsible, storable and portable; wherein the plurality of sensors are capable of interfacing with said transceiver; wherein said at least one transceiver is proximate said target; wherein said at least one transceiver is capable of wireless communication; wherein said first surface of said target is capable of displaying an image; and wherein said target system include one or more computing devices, said computing devices comprising one or more processors in communication with at least one other processor of the target system, product data and database entries from a first database associated with one or more experiences; wherein the database is capable of receiving entries from one or more user input devices and said sensors denoting information characterizing said one or more experiences, said one or more computing devices capable of managing the one or more experiences through specially programmed computer code.

12. The target system of claim 11, wherein said one or more experiences are one or more video games.

13. The target system of claim 12, wherein at least one of the user input device is a personal computing device, portable computer, or mobile telephone.

14. The target system of claim 11, wherein at least one of the user input devices is a beacon.

15. The target system of claim 1 wherein the receiver is electronically connected to one or more systems selected from the group consisting of interactive mobile application, computer software, data storage system, video game, computer server, router, and video display system.

16. A method of determining the location of an impact on a target using a target system comprising at least one target, at least one stand, at least one transceiver, a plurality of sensors, and mobile device; wherein the at least one target is connected to the at least one stand and at least a portion of said target is capable of displaying an image; wherein the plurality of sensors are interfaced with said transceiver; wherein said transceiver is located proximate said target; wherein said at least one transceiver is interfaced with said mobile device; wherein said at least one transceiver is capable of communicating with said at least one mobile device, wherein the transceiver and the mobile device identify each other using a user-assigned identifier.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the mobile device is configured with an application program interface that validates the target systems transmitting data to the mobile device.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein the user-assigned identifier is an alphanumeric code and at least one target surface is capable of displaying an image projected from a remote location.

19. The method of claim 16, wherein the user-assigned identifier is read by one or more beacons to determine user information.

20. The method of claim 16, further comprising one or more systems selected from the group consisting of an applications program interface, an interactive mobile application, computer software, a data storage system, a video game, a computer server, router, a website and a video display system.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation in part to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/154,131, filed Jan. 13, 2014, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/825,987, filed May 21, 2013 and U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/831,594, filed Jun. 5, 2013, such applications are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to a device for electronic targeting evaluation of shots fired on a shooting range and, more particularly, to a target, target system and method of use for electronic targeting evaluation of shots fired on a shooting range, which has a sensor arrangement for detecting the positions of the hits in the vicinity of the target or targets and a mobile device and receiver to provide real-time feedback of results.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

[0003] Various target shooting systems exist for analyzing the accuracy of a shooter's shot on a target. The means by which these target shooting systems work vary widely as demonstrated by the patents and applications identified below. Other than the standard target shooting equipment, namely a target and a means for projecting a projectile, such as a firearm, the systems disclosed in these patents and applications require some sort of additional, special equipment and lack versatility, portability, the ability to store shot information given a set of user-selected criteria (type of gun, ammo, distance, etc.) and ability to sync multiple shooters with multiple targets, all on a commonly used electronic device such as an iPad.

[0004] Cardboard or paper targets are most commonly used at firing ranges for training persons in the use of firearms. Such targets are also used at military and police firing ranges to allow soldiers and police officers to maintain and improve their marksmanship skills. Typically, shooters will shoot onto a paper target, physically walk to the target and write down the scores with a pen and notepad. Alternatively, an observer must either be stationed close to the target or be provided with an expensive spotting scope to advise the marksman of his or her progress. Such an approach subjects the shooter or observer to some danger and in the example of using an observer, requires a second dedicated person to train shooting skills.

[0005] Accordingly, there is a need for a target and/or shooting experience to eliminate the risks and time associated with physically walking to the target or observing the target to determine the accuracy of the results.

[0006] Some target ranges use a conveyer system to retrieve the target to avoid the risk of physically entering the shooting range. However, this approach does not eliminate the time to log the hits and additional time is spent waiting for the physical target to be conveyed to the shooter for evaluation.

[0007] As noted below, there are several companies that make electronic target systems using wired solutions and very basic proprietary computer systems. For example, some computer software used in such systems uses a very basic bulls-eye design or animal silhouettes and produces a score down to the tenth (e.g., 9.4 out of 10.0). Some of these computer systems are used by competitive shooters, avid hunters, military and law enforcement. There are also wireless technologies that allow an electronic target to communicate with a receiver and computer to display the shots on a target. The computer systems used in existing wireless technology consists of a prohibitively expensive, bulky, steel cased, rugged computer monitor that attaches to a Pelican Case that houses a receiver and large battery. The case is large and bulky as well. (see, e.g., http://www.kongsberg-ts.no/en/index.php?pageID=28&slideid=11).

[0008] In one such prior art system the target system uses acoustical measurements to determine the location of the impact of a bullet. As with other current systems, the targets are large, cumbersome and employ a special proprietary computer, not a personal mobile device.

[0009] Another one of the prior art targets uses several infrared sensors in conjunction with five microphones. The infrared sensors provide very accurate positioning in the bulls-eye area and the microphones cover the outer range.

[0010] Another company named SIUS provides an electronic scoring system such as the SA941 system or S110 system, which provides electronic results real-time to a shooter at a shooting range. The system can accommodate multiple shooters in multiple lanes and provide results to spectators via monitors. The system uses a LON-bus based wired communication and measures the shot's impact using only microphones. Particular equipment must be used depending on the type of weapon (e.g., caliber) and ammunition. The LS10 Laserscore, a target for airguns, uses infrared laser measurement to determine the location of the strike or impact. However, target ranges must be specially equipped to provide such request real-time and such results are transmitted to specially programmed computer systems. U.S. Published Application No. 2012/0194802 describes this SIUS system, such application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. The targets system is very bulky and not for portable use.

[0011] In addition to laser or acoustic determination, electronic targeting systems can detect and evaluate the holes shot in the vicinity of a target electro-optically, or detected in other ways, in order to establish the positions of the holes in relation to a target or targets. For example, U.S. Published Application No. 2002/027190 to Ulrich describes such a method, the '190 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety. As with the SIUS system, Ulrich fails to describe a portable system that can be used with standard mobile devices, such as an Android or Apple tablet, smartphone or mobile phone.

[0012] Other systems previously described are as follows:

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 4,204,683 issued 27 May 1980, by Filippini et al. for Device and Method for Detection of the Shots on a Target from a Distance discloses a video system for capturing shots on a target based upon the point of penetration of a light field by a projectile. This system requires a specialized target. The '683 patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 4,514,621 issued to Knight et al. discloses a complex, computerized firing range including transducers located adjacent the target area for detecting airborne shock waves from supersonic projectiles. The '621 patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. 4,763,903 issued 16 Aug. 1988, by Goodwin et al. for Target Scoring and Display System and Method discloses a system for capturing shots on a target based upon the point of penetration of a light field by a projectile. This system requires a specialized target. The '903 patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0016] U.S. Pat. No. 4,949,972 issued 21 Aug. 1990, by Goodwin et al. for Target Scoring and Display System discloses a system for capturing shots on a target based upon the point of penetration of a light field by a projectile. This system requires a specialized target. The '972 patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0017] U.S. Pat. No. 5,092,607 issued 3 Mar. 1992, by Ramsay et al. for Ballistic Impact Indicator discloses a system for alerting a shooter that a bullet has struck a target by causing a strobe light to be triggered using a vibration sensor. The patent does not provide for the location of the strike. The '607 patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0018] U.S. Pat. No. 5,577,733 issued 26 Nov. 1996, by Downing for Targeting System discloses a system for capturing shots on a target based upon the point of penetration of a light field by a projectile. This system requires a specialized target. The '733 patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0019] U.S. Pat. No. 5,775,699 issued 7 Jul. 1998, by Orito et al. for Apparatus with Shooting Target and Method of Scoring Target Shooting discloses an apparatus for capturing shots on a target based upon light reflected through the point of penetration of a target by a projectile. This method requires a specialized target. The '699 patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0020] U.S. Pat. No. 5,924,868 issued 20 Jul. 1999, by Rod for Method and Apparatus for Training a Shooter of a Firearm discloses a video camera mounted on eyewear worn by a shooter to produce a displayed image of the target to assist the shooter in aiming the firearm. This method requires specialized eyewear integrated with a camera. The '868 patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0021] U.S. Pat. No. 7,158,167 issued 2 Jan. 2007 by Yerazunis et al. for Video Recording Device for a Targetable Weapon discloses a video image recording device which is mounted on a gun to record video images before and after firing of the gun. This system requires a specialized camera mounted on and integrated with the gun. Shooting Range discloses a system for capturing shots on a target based upon the point of penetration of a light field by a projectile. The '167 patent is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0022] US Patent Application 2002/0171924 published 21 Nov. 2002 by Varner et al. for Telescope Viewing System discloses a telescope viewing system with a camera attachable to an eyepiece of the telescope and a computer system in communication with the camera for displaying images, in particular, celestial images, recorded by the camera upon a display screen. This system provides only a telescope viewing system with a camera for capturing images. The '924 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0023] US Patent Application 2003/0180038 published 25 Sep. 2003 by Gordon for Photographic Firearm Apparatus and Method discloses a telescopic firearm scope integrated with a camera to photograph a target at the instant the target is fired upon. This method requires a specialized scope integrated with a camera for use with a firearm. The '038 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0024] US Patent Application 2004/0029642 published 12 Feb. 2004 by Akano for Target Practice Laser Transmitting/Receiving System, Target Practice Laser Transmitter, and Target Practice Laser Receiver discloses a target practice laser transmitting and receiving system to capture details of a shot fired upon a target including position, time, distance, ammunition type, weapon type and other variables of the fired shot. This system requires a specialized laser system to capture and analyze shots on a target. The '642 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0025] US Patent Application 2005/0002668 published 6 Jan. 2005 by Gordon for Photographic Firearm Apparatus and Method discloses a telescopic firearm scope integrated with a camera to photograph a target at the instant the target is fired upon. This method requires a specialized scope integrated with a camera for use with a firearm. The '668 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0026] US Patent Application 2006/0150468 published 13 Jul. 2006 by Zhao for A Method and System to Display Shooting-Target and Automatic-Identify Last Hitting Point by Digital Image Processing discloses a video-monitor system to capture and display the location of a shot fired on a target. This system requires a specialized camera. The '468 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0027] US Patent Application 2006/0201046 published 14 Sep. 2006 by Gordon for Photographic Firearm Apparatus and Method discloses a telescopic firearm scope integrated with a camera to photograph a target at the instant the target is fired upon. This method requires a specialized scope integrated with a camera for use with a firearm. The '046 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0028] US Patent Application 2008/0163536 published 10 Jul. 2008 by Koch et al. for Sighting Mechanism for Fire Arms discloses a sighting mechanism with cameras mounted on a firearm to capture shots fired on a target and to display the shots on a video screen. This system requires a specialized camera integrated with a firearm. The '536 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0029] US Patent Application 2008/0233543 published 25 Sep. 2008 by Guissin for Video Capture, Recording and Scoring in Firearms and Surveillance discloses a video camera and recording device integrated with a weapon to record shots fired; wherein the camera may be mounted either on the firearm or within the bore of the firearm. This system requires a specialized camera integrated with a firearm. The '543 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0030] U.S. Patent Application 2011/311949 published 22 Dec. 2011 to Preston et al. for Trajectory Simulation System Utilizing Dynamic Target Feedback That Provides Target Position and Movement Area but does not disclose at least a portable target system that may utilize a standard mobile device. The '949 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0031] U.S. Patent Application 2012019802 published 2 Aug. 2012 to Walti-Herter for Method For Electronically Determining The Shooting Position On A Shooting Target relates to a method for electronically determining the shooting position on a shooting target using an acoustic system. The '802 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0032] U.S. Patent Application 2012/0258432 published 11 Oct. 2012 to Weissler for Target Shooting System provides real-time visual and electronic feedback regarding hits but does not involve a reusable target and requires the use of an expensive video system. The '432 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0033] U.S. Patent Application 2012/2313324 published 13 Dec. 2012 to Frickey for Articulated Target Stand with Multiple Degrees of Adjustment discloses a target stand usable with the target disclosed herein. The '324 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0034] U.S. Patent Application 2013/0147117 published 13 Jun. 2013 by Graham et al. for an Intelligent Ballistic Target discloses a target body that detects a hit and at a certain number of hits, the target body is released. The '117 publication is not portable nor does it allow for real-time feedback to a standard mobile computing device. The '117 publication is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0035] U.S. Patent Application 2013/0193645 published 1 Aug. 2013 by Kazakov et al. for a Projectile Target System discloses a sealed projectile target. However, the target has to face the shooter and may not be accurate with oblique shots. The target requires the setup of a target and a camera and is not an all is one system. Further, image processing may be deficient in a non-ideal environment, losing environmental flexibility.

[0036] While other target products are available, none solve the portability and ease of use problem. Accordingly, there is a need for a target system that can provide time and cost savings with real-time feedback regarding hits, that works with a variety of projectiles without changing the equipment or setup, is economical and reusable, that is easily portable such that an individual can rely upon using his or her own target for consistency, that does not require specialty set-up that may be prone to human error, increases safety for the user by eliminating the need to enter a live firing range to check targets, provides data storage of shot information, analysis and aggregation, and may be used with a standard mobile computing device such as an iOS or Android-based smartphone or tablet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0037] The present embodiments address the needs discussed above with a portable, wireless target system that interfaces with a personal computing device to provide real-time feedback.

[0038] One preferred embodiment is a target system with at least one target, at least one target stand, at least one transmitter, at least one receiver that is typically the base-station and not a mobile device, a plurality of sensors, and a target computer. The target is connected to the stand, preferably removably connected to the stand. In a preferred embodiment, the target removable, collapsible, storable, portable, all of these or combinations of one or more of these target aspects. The sensors are connected to the target computer such that a target strike is registered by the sensors and information detailing the strike, for example, the location and the force of the strike. Preferably, the target computer is located proximate the sensors such that the information may be conveyed wirelessly, wired, or otherwise. Alternatively, the sensors may interface directly with a mobile device application. Preferably the target computer interacts with an application programming interface (API) on the mobile device. The target system includes at least one transceiver, which can be a transmitter, which transmits data from the sensors directly or indirectly. Where transmitted indirectly, the target computer is the transmitter in a preferred embodiment. In a preferred embodiment the transceiver transmits data to a base station which is close to the shooter and will relay the strike or impact data to the shooters mobile device wirelessly, for example, via Bluetooth. Alternatively, Wi-Fi, RFID, or infrared wireless data transfer can be used.

[0039] In the preferred embodiment the transmitter is capable of communicating with more than one transceiver or receiver, base station, or mobile device. For example, the data may be conveyed to multiple base stations or multiple mobile devices for purposes of real-time monitoring of all shooters in a competition for example. Unique target identification information is conveyed to the mobile device in a preferred embodiment. The API can perform a determination regarding the whether the target identification correlates to the shooter or whether it is a target of another shooter. In one embodiment, the target ID may be scanned at the beginning of a shooting session. NFC technology could be used to scan a target ID for example, or a bar code, QR code or the like may be used.

[0040] An embodiment of the target system includes an electric motor with a wireless receiver connected with at least one target to move the target wirelessly in the X, Y, and Z axis, or any combination of directions.

[0041] In some embodiments the target comprises multiple target plates, in others the target is a single piece. The target itself is portable and reusable in the preferred embodiment such that a shooter can take the target with them to any suitable location. In some embodiments the target can fold. Alternatively, the target can be disassembled into smaller portions. In a preferred embodiment the target is manufactured of a material that renders the target reusable, such as a steel target or the like. In an embodiment, portions of the target are made of different materials. In one embodiment, the target can be made of a self-healing rubber material. Alternatively, the target may be a steel target coated with rubber, such as Kevlar impregnated rubber. The targets, portions thereof, or overlays of such targets can be made of other materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, resins, and the like.

[0042] In a preferred embodiment the sensors are accelerometers. Other sensors may be used, as would be known by one of ordinary skill in the art. Alternatively, microphones may be used to indicate a surface strike on the target. In a preferred embodiment more than one accelerometer is used. More preferably three accelerometers are used. Most preferably four accelerometers are used. In a preferred embodiment the accelerometers are proportionately and evenly distributed on the target. Alternatively, the sensors may be photodiodes or a mixture of accelerometers and photodiodes.

[0043] A preferred embodiment of the target system is fully battery powered for portability circumstances, meaning each component may be individually battery powered or may share portable power sources as permitted by proximity.

[0044] In the embodiments of the target system, the data related to the target and a projectile strike on the target are conveyed to the shooter real-time via a mobile device, such as a mobile telephone, personal computer, handheld device, iPad, iPhone, tablet computer, laptop, notebook, ultrabook, Android phone, video game platform or other personal computing device capable of wirelessly receiving such data. In a preferred embodiment, the mobile device uses an API to interface, receive, display and store the impact or strike data. Such data can be correlated with a number of other useful information, including location, date, and time. Information may also be stored in a cloud based database. In such cases the receiver is integrated with the mobile device. In a preferred embodiment the receiver is a standard part of the mobile device. In alternative embodiments the receiver is integrated with a detachable memory device, the transmitter is integrated with a detachable memory device, or both. In another embodiment the personal mobile device is in communication with a receiver proximate to a shooter, wherein said mobile device and said receiver are associated by wireless communication, for example, Bluetooth, RF, Wi-Fi, IR, or NFC.

[0045] The vibration sensors in some embodiments described herein use a process called trilateration or multi-lateration to determine impact information. Such a process uses at least three or more vibration sensors. In another embodiment, a process of triangulation or multi-angulation is used, where at least three vibration sensors are used. In some embodiments herein, the vibration sensors provide a unique vibration signature when impacted by a projectile.

[0046] The vibration signatures include amplitude, phase, frequency, frequency spectrum information, location, time, date, and force of impact, for example. The target impact data may also include a user-defined and assigned identifier. This identifier may be an alphanumeric.

[0047] In some embodiments, the target systems described herein further comprise a controller to receive vibration signatures corresponding to the sensed vibrations to determine where the target has been impacted by a projectile. In some embodiments long-range wireless transmitters may be coupled with the target and short-range wireless transmitters may be coupled with the personal mobile computing device configured to virtually report real-time data on a virtual target relating to the projectile impact. In other embodiments a second transmitter is unnecessary as the personal mobile computing device receives the information directly.

[0048] There is no limitation regarding the type of projectile that can be used with the embodiments herein, such as a bullet, an arrow, a paintball, a dart, or an athletic ball.

[0049] An embodiment of a mobile application used with the target system provides real-time impact information comprising the impact of the projectile on the target relative to a target design on a virtual target, wherein the mobile application optionally determines a score from the impact based on an accuracy algorithm and stored in a database.

[0050] The mobile application receives user input comprising the type of weapon used; the type of ammunition used; the distance from the weapon to the target; and weather conditions; wherein said mobile application stores the score based on at least one such input.

[0051] The target system may be used in an embodiment as a virtual training platform using a larger version of the target system, which may be steel, self-healing rubber or another suitable material. The larger system will accommodate a broader range of users, such as gamers. In such an embodiment, rather than having the impact locations appear as bullet holes on a virtual target screen, the impact data would interact with a first-person shooter game. To accomplish this, an appropriate game, like "Time Crisis 3" could be downloaded and run on an arcade machine emulator like MAME (http://www.mamedev.org/about.html), which can be used to communicate with the game, e.g., Time Crisis 3. In one embodiment, a conduit from the target system to the game is created by adding a peripheral to the computer to project the game on the surface of the target, such as a larger version of the target. The basic system allows the target system to communicate X,Y coordinates of shot impacts to a personal computer or similar computing device running a game or a virtual training scenario, and projecting the visuals onto the target or alternatively onto a screen in front of the target.

[0052] With this system in place at commercial ranges, shooters may be able to select targets that may be static or reactive. Such systems may be networked to allow for multiple players or shooters that may compete in the same game system, which could display leaderboards at the location or online. Audio may be fed into a local speaker or into electronic ear protection. In one embodiment, players or shooters can customize the experience, for example by taking photo shots to upload into the game and may take video of themselves shooting, either for diagnostic instruction or for social media. Results on a per scenario basis could be saved in the system using a virtual gun safe associated with online shooter profiles. Any number of add-on packages with new games or scenarios could be used with the gaming system, including customized packages using users/shooters associated with the particular location. In one embodiment, a shooter/user may virtually "travel" to a geographical location to experience the game with users local to that location. For example, a user originally from Boston, Mass. living in another location, such as San Francisco, Calif., may virtually play a multi-user game with other users from Boston or any other number of locations, and thereby share the experience with friends in different locations--or perhaps meet like-minded people in other locations. Law enforcement/military may use such a projector system in virtual training scenarios, similar to PRIsim.

[0053] In one embodiment of the virtual system the design may incorporate a sensor array, for example an 8 sensor array mounted on a 4'.times.3' piece of 3/8'' AR500 steel. In some applications, a large target display is preferable, for example, at least 6' in width, more preferably at least 10' in width, such that the target is a reasonable size at the minimum safe distance. A heavy duty target stand sufficient to support the larger target may be used, for example to support at least 150 lbs, more preferably at least 200 lbs, such that the mounted target experiences minimal movement under the conditions. In a preferred embodiment, the screen is a coroplast screen configured to project an image and thick enough to prevent rearward fragmentation and with a sufficient strength and endurance for multiple hits, while providing a lower cost to allow replacement between sessions, though other materials may be used. An anti-fragmentation adhesive may be used around the perimeter of the target plate to prevent deflection of unpreferred materials into the surrounding environment (e.g., lead, copper). The bottom of the screen may be sloped or removed to allow for discharge.

[0054] An emulator running on a PC may be used as an alternative to customized software, though customized code may be written for the application. The software preferably has calibration settings allowing the user to setup the projector to match the target size and distance. For example, the user may use a test shot to align an actual strike point with a virtual strike point. Alternatively, screen edges of the projection and the target may be juxtaposed or with a suitable margin based on the user preference. Typical aspect ratios may be used, such as 4.times.3, 16.times.9 or 16.times.10. Another calibration method may have a user shoot each corner and a center point, using expected geometry to correct for shooting inaccuracies. Said calibration preferably done through specialized code written for the target system to calibrate based on input from the target and user. Alternatively, the target system may calibrate through interaction with a targeting device used by user. In such an alternative, the system may use multiple inputs from the target strike, a targeting device, and the like, said code further written to compensate for environmental conditions impacting the calibration (e.g., wind). Input commands may be ported over from a video game to match the system output, for example, a strike point would be the equivalent of a mouse click or the like. After such calibration, a user may load a pre-configured game, such as Time Crisis 3, on a PC or other computing device and play.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0055] FIG. 1 is a flow diagram describing an embodiment process.

[0056] FIG. 2 is a flow diagram describing an embodiment process.

[0057] FIG. 3 depicts a target embodiment and the target stand.

[0058] FIGS. 4a-4c depict views of a target and target stand embodiment.

[0059] FIGS. 5a-5c depict views of a stowed target and target stand embodiment.

[0060] FIGS. 6a and 6b depict views of a stowed target and target stand embodiment.

[0061] FIG. 7 depicts an alternative target embodiment and the target stand.

[0062] FIGS. 8a and 8b depict views of a target embodiment and the target stand.

[0063] FIG. 9 shows a target range setup utilizing a target embodiment.

[0064] FIG. 10 shows an alternative portable target and stand embodiment.

[0065] FIG. 11 depicts a triangulation strike technique.

[0066] FIG. 12 shows signal transceivers with multiple target embodiments.

[0067] FIG. 13 shows alternative sensor position and strike determination embodiments.

[0068] FIG. 14a shows one visual display of strike results.

[0069] FIG. 14b shows another visual display of a target embodiment.

[0070] FIG. 15 shows a comparative display of three shooters.

[0071] FIG. 16 shows an alternative touch-screen visual display of strike results.

[0072] FIG. 17 shows an alternative target shape with wired and wireless signal options.

[0073] FIG. 18 shows an alternative matrix style signal placement.

[0074] FIG. 19 shows a virtual training platform embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0075] The preferred embodiments of the portable, real-time target system, including the portable target and base and method of use is disclosed herein. Other variations and features known to those of skill in the art may be used with and in conjunction with the embodiments described and disclosed herein without straying from the scope of the invention.

[0076] FIG. 1 presents a flow diagram of certain steps of the target system. Prior to 101a user, or a shooter, sets up the target system where desired and the target system initiated by powering the system. Alternatively the target power can be designed to turn on as the target system is unfolded and setup. The portable target system, as exemplified in FIG. 3, may be carried and set up in a number of remote environments, including any variety of shooting ranges. Desirably, the portable target system allows the user to reduce variables experienced at different ranges and use the same system, capturing relevant shooting data for honing accuracy and shooting skills. After the target is put in place, the user can locate themselves at a desired distance as determined in a number of ways, such as through a GPS transceiver on the target system. In one embodiment the user will start the application on the mobile computing device where the personal transceiver is located. After the target is impacted by the projectile in step 101, the plurality of sensors register the impact and send the impact data to the target computer located proximate the target and sensors. Preferably at least three sensors are used on the target, more preferably four sensors. More sensors can be used and will provided greater precision, accuracy and better identification of outlier signals. After the sensors send impact data to the target computer in step 102, in step 103 the target computer proximate the target converts the analog signal to digital, determines the coordinates of the impact location, and transmits the data package to the target transceiver, which is proximate the target computer and target. Alternatively, the coordinates may be calculated by a mobile computer device. The sensors may be hardwired or data may be transmitted electronically to the target transceiver and sent to the target computer for processing. The target transceiver wirelessly transmits the coordinates of the particular impact to the personal transceiver in step 105 proximate the shooter/user or alternatively to an observer, judge or other interested party with a transceiver configured to receive such information. In step 106 the personal transceiver sends impact data wirelessly, such as via Bluetooth, to one or more mobile computing devices, such as an iPad, smartphone, iphone, laptop, tablet, or the like. In an alternative embodiment the personal transceiver may be part of the mobile computer device. Where the personal transceiver is integrated with the mobile computing device, wireless transmission is not necessarily preferred. Multiple devices may receive the data from the personal transceiver. In an embodiment the personal transceiver is located in one mobile computing device and may transmit to other mobile computing devices enabled to receive the information. In step 107 the mobile computing device receiving the data processes the data to display information relating to the impact, including in some embodiments displaying where the impact occurred on a virtual target simulating the actual target.

[0077] FIG. 2 discusses the processing of the information received by the mobile computing device. Step 201 indicates the mobile computing device has received the impact data. In step 202 a mobile application may be used to process the data and display the location of the impact on a virtual target simulating the actual target. In an embodiment a large amount of data is also provided for each impact which may be accessed by scrolling or if a touch screen is used by touch of the impact designation on the virtual display. In an embodiment the user may customize the mobile application to embed and display the information important to the user, including a calculated measure of accuracy or a measure of skill that may consider the level of difficulty in addition to the accuracy, where the level of difficulty may be a function of a number of factors such as weather conditions such as the level of wind or visibility, the distance compared with the weapon, and other variables, including but not limited to ballistic coefficient, distance to target, weapon type and modifications, time elapsed between each shot, number of shots, ammunition type, elevation difference between target and shooter, stationary or moving target, shooter's stance (prone, kneeling, standing), shooter's support (bench rest, sling, bipod, etc.), weapon sights (magnification, windage and elevation settings, recticle (MIL versus MOA), and brand). In step 203 the mobile application may synchronize the shot performance, data and the shooter/user profile with an online database for comparative analysis and storage of the results. In step 204 the data may be saved in a database, such as a relational database for searching and data manipulation. Such may be used in a shooting series competition.

[0078] FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of the target and frame 300. The target and frame is made to be portable and can be folded or disassembled to easily carry with the user to a variety of locations where the user may wish to use the target system. The target includes a target plate 301 that is made of a material conducive to target shooting. In one embodiment the target plate is made of AR500 steel. In another embodiment a rubberized coating may be used on target plate. In another embodiment polyethylene may be used. For targets to be functional and safe, they should be made of a material with a Brinell hardness number (BHN) of at least 500, preferably at least 550, preferably at least 600. The material must also provide sufficient strength, toughness, and impact resistance. Other materials are Heflin REM 500 steel. If the hardness is excessive the steel may be too hard and too brittle for ballistic training purposes, for example 700. Preferably, steel with a smooth, flat surface is used for the target to dissipate the projectile's energy for a longer lasting target. The base 302 is made of a mild steel in some embodiments and configured to present a streamlined or minimal face toward the shooter to avoid dangerous ricochets to minimize risk and unpredictable splatter. In an embodiment of the present invention, the target pivots with a locking mechanism, for example, a pin or spring lock. The pivot is such that the shooter may setup the target on an uneven surface but adjust the stand to present a flat face from the perspective of the shooter. Impact sensors 304 may be located in some embodiments in each corner of the target. A minimum of three sensors are needed for most purposes, four sensors are more preferable, and accuracy of the system increases as the number of sensors increase. One way the target may be locked in place after pivoting and adjusting to the preferred position is to use a removable locking pin that both allows the target face to be optimally positioned for target practice but also allows for secure storage when folded or carried. Preferably, the target may be stored flat to minimize the footprint for the target. One embodiment of the pin system is shown in FIG. 3, at 305. An enclosure shield 306 is included to shield the electronics from stray bullet fire or splatter. The electronics may be place in a variety of locations, a preferred location is shown as 307 on FIG. 3 behind the target plate and protected by the enclosure shield. The once set in a preferable location and orientation, the frame may be secured in place. One way to secure the frame is through use of stakes and holes in the frame such as 308 in FIG. 3.

[0079] FIGS. 4a-4b show various views of the target and frame with the target locked in an upright position. FIGS. 5a-5c show various views of the target and frame in a closed position for carrying or storage. Preferably the profile and footprint of the target and frame is minimized in this position. FIGS. 6a and 6b depict the carry handle 610 that may be used to carry the target and frame when the target is in the stowed position. FIGS. 7 and 8a and 8b provide additional variations of the target. In FIGS. 8a and 8b the target plate 801 is configured with a target face made of a material that is both bulletproof and transparent, such as an optically clear polycarbonate material or aluminum oxynitride (known commercially as ALON). Behind the target face material is a computer display designed to present a large number of characters, shapes, figures, fictitious images, historical images, and more. The figure depicted may move on or across the display for reactive target practice. In some embodiments, the shooter may upload any number of video files or photographs to make the experience more challenging and/or entertaining. In such an embodiment, the generated score from each impact is configured to be a factor of the situation displayed. For example, a situational simulation may be uploaded and displayed to challenge the shooter's reaction time and judgment. In other embodiments, real-life training modules may be used to simulate scenarios and score the user based on a number of factors in how to best react to the particular scenario. The user may upload and control the display from the mobile computer system which can record the simulated scenario and the user's reaction for later playback, demonstration, discussion and comparison. Alternately, the display may be projected on a target face from a forward position or a position on the target frame. In these embodiments the figure, simulation or other depiction may be transferred wirelessly from the mobile computer. Alternatively, the target computer may be programmed with such video depictions and simulations. In another embodiment the target computer has a port, such as a usb port for media interface. Preferably, a solid state memory is used with the target computer to avoid the risk of damage and data loss. The target computer in some embodiments can interface with an external computer or hard drive for backup storage. In some embodiments the target computer can backup information wirelessly to a connected mobile computer or database that is not local to the target computer, for example, through the internet. Alternatively, the database may be cloud-based storage.

[0080] FIG. 9 depicts a simplified depiction of the target system components wherein the target system includes a target 922 with a target face 926 with a target pattern displayed thereon 936. The target plate is oriented such that a projectile will ricochet in a safe manner toward the ground or away from the shooter as depicted in 928. In an alternate embodiment the target may be mounted on a vertical stand that is adjustable in height 924. The stand may have a stabilized base or may be implanted into a soft surface such as in the ground. A rifle 930 or other means of conveying the projectile is used at a distant location 938 from the target. Upon impact, for example at point 983, the sensors send impact information to the signal processing circuit or the target computer proximate thereto, which may be hardwired or wirelessly in contact with the target sensors. The transceiver 940 receives the processed data from the target computer and transmits the data to the mobile computer and the personal transceiver which further processes the data and provides a visual output of the impact information based on the circumstances and target program used.

[0081] FIG. 10 shows a perspective view of strike plate 1022 coupled to support member 1024. Support member 1024 includes a fixed base 1044, a pivot member 1046 coupled to fixed base 1044, and mounts 1048 secured to a back planar surface 1050 of strike plate 1022 and to pivot member 1046. Fixed base 1044 includes a cradle portion 1052 for loosely accommodating pivot member 1046. Pivot member 1046 lies in cradle portion 1052 such that when planar strike surface 1026 (not shown) is struck by projectile 928 (FIG. 9), strike plate 1022 is permitted to rotate about a pivot axis 1054 established by the positioning of pivot member 1046 in cradle portion 1052 of fixed base 1044. The movement of strike plate 1022 around axis 1054 upon impact of projectile 928 (FIG. 9) dampens the force of the impact to allow for a smaller ricochet proximity. This embodiment is particularly useful in less open locations where the portable target system is setup. In this embodiment, the target plate is removable from support member 1024 or removable from mounts 1048 to allow for compaction, storage and easy transportation. Alternatively, the base of the support member 1024 may be pivotally attached or removably attached to the base 1044 at hinge 1090 and contact 1092 which may be a hinge lock 1092 or where 1090 is not a hinge the support member 1024 may be locked into place with a spring-loaded latching system (not shown). The target computer and transceiver 1007 is located behind strike plate 1006a to protect the computer and transceiver 1007 from misfire. Alternatively a back strike plate may be used to protect from ricochets and secure the target computer and transceiver in place. Alternatively a top strike plate (not shown) may be used to protect the top portion of the target computer from ricochets.

[0082] Referring to FIG. 11 in connection with FIG. 10, FIG. 11 shows a back view of strike plate 1022 with mounts 1148 secured to back planar surface 1150. Sensor assemblies 1174, 1175, 1176 and 1177 (1074, 1075, 1076 and 1077 from FIG. 10) are disposed on or in strike plate 1022. Strike surface 1026 and back surface 1050 are separated by a target depth. In one embodiment configuration, first and second sensors 1174 and 1175, respectively, extend from back surface 1050 into target 1022 and are positioned proximate first corner 1160. Likewise, third and fourth sensors 1176 and 1177 extend from back surface 1050 into target plate 1022 proximate fourth corner 1070. First, second, third, and fourth sensors 1174, 1175, 1176, and 1177, respectively, may be substantially equidistant from an approximate midpoint 1180 of target surface 1026. A first baseline distance 1182 between first and second sensors 1174 and 1175 is less than a radial distance 1184 between each of first and second sensors 1174 and 1175 and midpoint 1180. Likewise, a second baseline distance 1186 between third and fourth sensors 1176 and 1177 is less than radial distance 1184 between each of third and fourth sensors 1176 and 1177 and midpoint 1180. In this configuration of this embodiment the sensors are equidistant from midpoint 1180. In addition, each of the sensors are embedded at an equal depth and not fully through the target plate to prevent damage from a target strike by the projectile.

[0083] In this configuration, the sensors are located in the top portion of the target surface. The mounts 1148 and the pivot axis are in the lower portion of the target to allow for the target to lean forward. Preferably, in this embodiment, the target is angled such that the ricochet is directed downward to the ground. Dampening attachments may be used to absorb some of the impact force and limit the range of the ricochet. In such a case, the strike force of the projectile reported to the shoot must be adjusted by the absorbed force. Alternatively, if not preferable to have an impact dampening effect, the target plate may be mounted on a pivoting connection, either a full pivot to accommodate for uneven surfaces or only in the forward and back direction to position the target facing downward. Such a pivot connection preferably will have a pivot lock to lock the target into position during the firing session.

[0084] Alternately, in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the sensors may be located in other positions in the target and need not be embedded in the target face. For example, the sensors could be positioned on the back surface of the target.

[0085] FIG. 12 is a figure exemplifying the various signal paths from multiple target systems to a variety of transceivers. In some embodiments, the targets 1203 have sensors 1215 to identify impacts from individuals 1223, 1224, 1225, 1226, and 1228. In one embodiment the signal and data from the target is transmitted to one or more transceivers that can be shared by two shooters such as 1220 and 1225, where each shooter has individual displays 1229 and 1230. In this embodiment two or more shooters can use the same target and by sending a signal to the target the particular individual can indicate which shooter is taking a turn for data parsing. In another embodiment a universal transceiver 1222 can be used to receive target data and signals from local target transceivers 1216 of a plurality of target systems and parse the signal to relay to the appropriate individuals, not limited to shooters. For example spectators 1228 may receive the target data to follow the results for shooters. Alternatively, an instructor or competition judges 1223 may receive target data on mobile devices or remote computers to observe or evaluate the strikes from any number of shooters. In another embodiment, a signal booster 1221 may be used to relay data from the targets. In another embodiment, a shooting range owner or competition official 1226 may utilize a transceiver to receive target data and information by frequent users of the range for purposes of providing loyalty rewards or offers to the individuals visiting such ranges. In such embodiments, the range owner or competition organizer may offer a central database 1227 for data storage where individuals may access the information associated with a particular account and can be programmed to interface with users to provide information, updates, competition information, incentive information, or the like. In a preferred embodiment the central database is accessible through a user interface, for example a personal computer or mobile device. The accessible information may include range conditions for any particular day, such as wind speed or other weather information.

[0086] FIG. 13 depicts alternative ways to orient or locate the target sensors 1315 to identify strike information.

[0087] FIGS. 14a and 14b depict a shot cluster, where the shot cluster indicates a high consistency but it not a high score regarding target accuracy. In such situations, the target system may evaluate whether a scope adjustment is appropriate and based on the shot data recommend a calibration adjustment. The calibration adjustment may also apply to compensate with weather conditions, such as wind.

[0088] FIGS. 15 and 16 are examples of display output from a personal device, such as a target system application display on a smartphone, tablet, ipad, or laptop computer, for example. The figures demonstrate a broad presentation of data relating to the particular session or as compared with historical shooting data.

[0089] The target systems herein in some embodiments are configured to measure accuracy, power and speed. Regarding speed, reaction time may be measured by using a target system with a randomized signal to fire, which may be with the application or may be integrated with the target. For example, audial or visual signal may be used. The signal in these situations is coordinated with the target such that the timing between signal and impact may be accurately measured and recorded. Preferably the signal is delivered from the mobile application which is proximate the shooter and does not require excessive volume or brightness. In some modes, the overall score may be a factor of speed, power and accuracy or any combination thereof based on the goals of the shooter.

[0090] FIG. 17 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the shooting target system 1701 according to the present invention. The target system 1701 comprises a plurality of sensors, which may be accelerometers or shock sensors 1710a-h arranged to detect a shock wave arising and propagating in the target material upon impact of a projectile (not shown) in the target 1711. The target system 1701 further comprises a local computer 1712 connected to each sensor 1710a-h either wired or wirelessly and arranged to receive measurement signals there from. When a shock wave in the target material is detected by the sensors 1710a-h, each sensor sends a signal indicating that a shock wave has been detected to the computer 1710. Alternatively, the signal data may be transmitted via transceiver 1713 to a remote device, such as a mobile device, iPad, smartphone, tablet computer, or the like. The computer, whether local or remote, is arranged to calculate the point of impact of the projectile in the target 1711 based on the run-time difference of the shock wave between the different sensors 1710a-h, as will be described in more detail below. In this embodiment, the target 1711 is a flat target which may be on a stand or may alternatively be a uniformly curved metal sheet. The principle of determining the point of impact of a projectile in a target described below is equally applicable to a three dimensional or two dimensional depiction. A variety of depictions or target shapes 1715 may be on the target face such that the depiction or target shape may be correlated in the target system application or program and entered into the remote application or program provide statistical accuracy and strike evaluation. For example, a deer depiction may be displayed and correlate with a program identifier such that a strike impact will be correlated with that depiction or an alternative depiction such as a human perpetrator may be correlated in the program under a different program identifier for accuracy and strike evaluation purposes relating to a differing target.

[0091] Vibrations or shock waves caused by the impact of a projectile in the target 1711 will propagate in the target material in a concentric pattern. The sensor closest to the point of impact will be the first sensor to register the shock wave. When that sensor detects the shock wave, it sends a signal to the computer which starts a timer upon reception of said signal. In the same way, the subsequently registering sensors send respective signals to the computer. When the subsequent signals are received by the computer, the value DELTA the registering time, indicative of the run time difference of the shock wave between the first sensor and subsequent sensors, is stored and used by the calculator. The same run time difference is performed between each subsequent sensor and the prior registering sensors, resulting in a plurality of timer value DELTAs indicative of the run time differences between the plurality of sensors. The "run time difference" of the shock wave between two sensors can hence also be expressed as the time-delay between the detections of the shock wave by said two sensors. That is, the value DELTA tab represents the time-delay between the detection of the shock wave by the first sensor to detect the shock wave and the second sensor to detect the shock wave, while the value DELTA tac represents the time-delay between the detections of the shock wave by the first sensor to detect it and the third sensor to detect it. By utilizing the time-delays between the detections of the shock wave by the sensors 1710a-h as well as known parameter values, such as the speed of sound in the target material which corresponds to the velocity of shock wave propagation in the target 11, and the shock wave propagation distances between the sensors 10a-h, a computer 1712, calculates the point of impact X using standard physics and well-known geometry. Shock wave propagation distance shall in this context be construed as the distance the shockwave has to propagate in the target material between two points.

[0092] Although the shooting target system 1701 in FIG. 17 comprises eight shock sensors, a person skilled in the art appreciates that three sensors are sufficient to triangulate or trilaterate the point of impact of the projectile and two shock sensors are sufficient to retrieve some information about the point of impact of the projectile. If only two shock sensors are used, an exact point of impact cannot be determined since the system is under-determined (the calculation means needs two time differences in order to determine two coordinates for the point of impact). However, a shooting target system comprising only two shock sensors (yielding one shock wave run-time difference) is able to determine a line along the target 1711, along which line the projectile must have hit the target. This point-of-impact information may be sufficient for certain shooting applications.

[0093] The parameter values needed to calculate the point of impact except for the run-time difference of the shock wave between the sensors detecting it, such as the speed of sound in the target material and the propagation distance between the shock sensors, are preferably stored in the computer. In a preferred embodiment the computer includes a user interface for a user to change the parameter values needed to calculate the information related to the point of impact so as to allow the same calculation means 1712 to be used with different targets composed by different materials and/or shaped differently, and/or to allow repositioning of the sensors at a target so as to optimize sensor readings.

[0094] The speed of sound in an aluminum or other metal target is approximately 5000 m/sec which means that the shock wave travels approximately 10 cm in 0.02 ms. The shock sensors 1710a-h should be separated by a distance ensuring that the electronic circuit of the calculation means 1712 can distinguish the different sensor signals from each other. The exactness of the point-of-impact determination depends on the accuracy of the timer value readings. Though three sensors could be used to triangulate the strike location, more preferably a larger number of sensors will allow for greater accuracy through data analysis and correction or by recognition of outlier signals to eliminate outlier signals from the calculation. Outlier signals may also be used to identify sensor problems and the need for maintenance of the sensor or system.

[0095] As aforementioned, shooting targets, and especially shooting targets used in military shooting exercises, often depicts fictitious enemy soldiers. A target system resolution of less than 1 cm is suitable, preferably less than 0.5 cm, more preferably less than 2.5 mm, most preferably 1 mm or less, which is fully possible to achieve with the target system according to the present invention, is thus sufficient to determine which part of the target that is hit by an incident projectile. In one embodiment the target shape is projected or displayed and coordinated with the system software such that strikes are correlated with particular location strikes on the given target and accuracy scores calculated based on the target selection. This may be achieved by associating each target coordinate or different target regions with a part of the body in a look-up table located in the signal processor 1712 or the indication means of the shooting target system.

[0096] With the portability and flexibility of the present invention a shooter may setup the target system in a number locations. Accommodation may be made to account for gusts of wind, rain or other incidental strikes. Wind gusts, hail and rain may cause vibrations in the target material which undesirably may be registered by the sensors and taken for an incident projectile by the signal processor 1712. Such unintended readings can be prevented with use of sufficient number of sensors and an algorithm to identify outlier readings. To avoid this problem, the signal processor is preferably arranged to compare the output signals from the sensors with a predetermined threshold value and ignore signals indicative of outliers. To further minimize the risk of calculating the "point of impact" based on shock waves or vibrations that are not caused by a projectile hitting the target 1711, the signal processor 1712 may be arranged to ignore all output signals from the sensors that are not within a predetermined amplitude interval, which interval is characteristic of shock waves caused by a projectile impact on the target. This amplitude may be adjustable to accommodate the conditions. Yet a further alternative is to analyze the variation of the sensor signal amplitude in time and only calculate the point of impact for those shock wave signals having an amplitude-time signature that matches a predetermined amplitude-time signature which is characteristic of shock waves originating from a hit by a projectile. The smart logic of the signal processor can use historic information of the target strike amplitudes to progressively increase accuracy. Other logic can be applied simultaneously. For example, the amplitude of consecutive shock waves originating from a projectile impact rapidly decrease in amplitude while the amplitudes of consecutive shock waves originating from gusts of wind most likely will fluctuate randomly. That is, the signal processor 1712 may comprise logic that, by studying the amplitude of a plurality of consecutive shock waves, is able to distinguish shock waves or vibrations originating from a projectile impact from other non-projectile generated shock waves.

[0097] FIG. 18 illustrates another embodiment of the shooting target system according to the invention. The shooting target system 1802 comprises the same components as the target system 1701 described above with similar components denoted by reference numerals having the same unit digits, with the 1700 numbers applying to FIGS. 17 and 1800 numbers applying to FIG. 18. However, the target 1821 is divided in a matrix format for the target. The target 1821 comprises a plurality of vertical dividers 1827 substantially dividing the target into a plurality of elongated target portions 1828a-f. In this embodiment, the dividers are vertically arranged and extend from the bottom of the target 1821 to a distance from the top of the target, thereby forming a plurality of vertically elongated target portions 1828a-f, henceforth referred to as target columns, that are held together by a horizontal "connection portion" 1830a-h. Sensors 1820a-f are arranged to detect impact shock waves/vibrations in the target material of each target column 1828a-f. Preferably, the sensors 1820a-f are disposed at or close to the ends of the target columns 1828a-f. Horizontal sensors are similarly disposed at or close to the ends of the target rows 1830a-h. The number of rows and columns are by example and more or less can be used depending on the sensitivity of interest.

[0098] In FIG. 1802, the target 1821 is illustrated as a curved metal sheet which can be used to provide 3D effect. The principle of determining the point of impact in a matrix target, as will be further described below, is, however, equally applicable to a flat shooting target.

[0099] FIG. 1802 illustrates how vibrations or shock waves caused by the impact of a projectile on the matrix target 1821 are propagating in the target material. Once again, an imagined point of impact of a projectile in the target 1821 can be illustrated by placing an X on the target. When a target column (for example, target column 1828b) is hit by a projectile, shock waves arise and propagate in the longitudinal directions of the target column. When the outermost shock wave, i.e. the first shock wave arising in the target material due to the impact of the projectile, reaches the sensor located closest to the point of impact, which in this particular case is sensor 1820b, the sensor transmits a signal to the signal processor 1822 whereupon a timer 1824 is started. The shockwave front propagating in the opposite direction reaches the connection portion through which the vibrations/shock waves are further spread to all target strips 1828a-f and horizontal sensors 1830a-h. The sensors neighboring the sensor disposed on the target cylinder hit by the projectile, in this case sensors 1820a and 1820c, will be the next sensors to detect the shock wave since the propagation distance from the point of impact to these sensors is shorter than the propagation distance to the other sensors (except for sensor 1820b). As soon as sensor 1820a or 1820c detects the shock wave, a signal indicating that the shock wave has been detected by a second sensor is sent to the processor 1822 whereupon the timer 1824 is stopped and a timer value DELTA t, indicating the run time difference of the shock wave between the first sensor to detect it and the second sensor to detect it, is obtained. In a similar way as described above with reference to FIG. 17, the point of impact is then calculated by utilizing the value DELTA t and known physical and geometrical parameters, such as the speed of sound in the target material, and the shock wave propagation distance between the sensors for which the run time difference of the shock wave has been determined.

[0100] By dividing the target into a plurality of target portions by columns, the shock wave propagation path between the different shock sensors is prolonged, reducing the demands on the response time of the shock sensors and the electronic circuit processing the sensor signals. It also reduces the demands on the computational power of the calculation means since only one target coordinate needs to be calculated in order to establish the point of impact of the projectile. In, e.g., the embodiment shown in FIG. 18 the horizontal location for the point of impact is automatically given since the calculation means "knows" that the projectile must have hit the target somewhere along the vertical column on which the sensor that was the first to detect the shock wave is disposed (given that the calculation means is arranged so as to be able to distinguish signals from different sensors). Hence, a matrix shooting target eliminates one dimension from the geometrical environment of the target and the processor 1822 only needs to calculate the vertical coordinate for the point of impact based on the run time difference of the shock wave between the different sensors. The width of the columns may vary in dependence of the demand on the target system resolution. In high precision shooting exercises finely columnated targets may be used while roughly columnated targets may be sufficient for other applications. In FIG. 18, the local computer 1822 may additionally include a transceiver 1825 which may be in contact with one or more personal transceivers located with the shooter, an observer or at a display, for example, to display results of each strike. Also, the local computer 1822 may also include a modem 1826 that can be either WiFi enabled or capable of communicating data to the internet through a suitable data transmission vehicle such as LTE, GSM, HSPA, CDMA, UMTS telecommunications, WiMax, EDGE, EV-DO, iBurst, HIPERMAN, Flash-OFDM, or the like, such that the data is uploaded to an internet based data system, such as a cloud database. In a preferred embodiment, all shot data point or a large number of data points and associated variable data can be stored in a relational database management system (DBMS), such as SQL, MySQL, DB2, Informix, Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise, Sybase IQ, Teradata or the like. Base 36 (hexatridecimal storage) for example may be used with data for database storage in such databases, or the like. Alternatively, hierarchical databases, object databases and XML databases may be used. With this embodiment, the data can be accessed through the internet via a proprietary program or preferably with a standard internet browser. This embodiment allows observers across the world to follow the results of the shooter real-time with simple access to the internet and a web browser. Alternatively, strike information can be uploaded to the internet and processed in one or more internet-based game settings. In a preferred embodiment, the target display simulates the view of the character in a computer game and the strikes are correlated real-time with the internet-based game to provide a real-feel simulation. Such a simulation is ideal for use in police or military training.

[0101] FIG. 19 shows an alternate embodiment of a simulation or gaming system where 1901 is a target member that may be, for example, a steel plate or alternatively a rubber material, such as a self-healing rubber. 1902 is a rubber fragmentation ring for use with the target between the screen and the target. 1903 is a screen, such as a coroplast screen, on which an image or video may be projected or depicted. In an alternative embodiment the screen may be a digital display with a protective, optically transparent material surface, such as a polycarbonate material such as Lexan, Tuffak or Cyrolon. 1904 is a camera facing the shooter, 1906 is a camera facing the target, and 1905 depicts the target system software on a computing device, such as a tablet. 1907 shows a computer with a projector to project the suitable game or other video on the projection screen. The computer may be equipped with a receiver or transceiver, as described herein, with may, for example, use Bluetooth technology. With the technology, the shooter may be imaged within the video itself to simulate a real-life experience for purposes of training Panoramic or surround around screens may be used to provide an immersive experience.

[0102] The target system, in a preferred embodiment, would include one or more computing devices, said computing devices comprising one or more processors in communication with at least one other processor of the target system, product data and database entries from a first database associated with one or more experiences. The computer system is in communication with one or more databases that receive and store entries from one or more user input devices and optionally said sensors denoting information characterizing said one or more experiences. The computer system is specially programmed with computer code to manage the experience. One such experience is a simulation, another is a video game, for example. The experiences are personalized and customized based on user input and/or other input sources, such as environmental sources or through beacon technology, such devices as described in U.S. Pat. No. 8,718,620, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety for all purposes. Said beacon technology may be used to provide location-based content, maps, weather, city information, or any other suitable content. Said beacon technology, in one embodiment, is integrated with the portable target system and may be used to automatically load personal user preference when the user is in the propinquity of said beacon.

[0103] The beacon technology may also be integrated with the experience at multiple locations and phases to track multiple users in the same experience and/or multiple locations or stations involved in said experience. For example, in a range, several beacons may be strategically located for the purpose of detecting a user when moving from a location outside the beacon detection zone to within said zone to initiate a portion of said experience based on said programming, location, and/or user.

[0104] A screen shot from a user's display, for example from the user/shooter mobile device, may show a variety of information, such as the weather, distance to target, projectile device (e.g. .308 Remington), projectile, and data regarding the shot strike. The data from the shot strike includes the time of the strike, a score generated by a customized algorithm specific to the target, projectile device, distance to the target and weather conditions, for example.

[0105] Another screen shot, upon clicking on the particular shot, may display additional information about each shot which can be displayed in a pop-up window from a touch screen or curser click. Additional information can be added in a notes section. Such information can be saved and uploaded to a user data base, which may be cloud based or local. The user display may be customizable. In a preferred embodiment, the user may customize the appearance of the screen shot to reflect personal preferences. Any suitable computer device may be used, such as a handheld device, portable computer, smart phone, ipad, or the like. Any device able to use a web browser may be used, though ideally the user device is a mobile device to accommodate the mobility of the target system. Multiple shooter information may be displayed on one screen, for example, a multiple user/shooter display exemplifying three shooters at the time, graphically showing the scores, ranking the shooters and indicating the accuracy of each shooter.

[0106] Although there have been described preferred embodiments of this target system, many variations and modifications are possible in light of the above teachings and may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described while within the scope of the appended claims. The embodiments described herein are not limited by the specific disclosure above, but rather should be limited only by the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

[0107] For example, the target system may be adapted to apply to larger weaponry target practice, such as those used by the military.

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